New Jersey receiving Afghan refugees at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst

(Department of Defense image)

(Department of Defense image)

New Jersey is receiving refugees from Afghanistan through Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst — and the goal is to resettle them as soon as possible.

“Local resettlement agencies, and other nongovernmental organizations working with refugees and immigrants, will be best placed to harness this goodwill as people make it through their initial processing and begin their new lives in America,” a State Department spokesperson said Wednesday.

The U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan has touched off a perilous domino effect. The Taliban quickly took control earlier this month as the Afghan government collapsed. Though the U.S government and the Taliban have maintained a working relationship amid the “tenuous” situation, the Taliban is holding firm on the Aug. 31 deadline of complete U.S. withdrawal. As the Taliban continues its takeover of the country, the airport in Kabul has become inundated with refugees.

Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst is among military installations in four states receiving refugees as they land. After arriving at Dulles Airport in Virginia, refugees are also being transported to Fort McCoy in Wisconsin, Fort Bliss in Texas, and Fort Lee in Virginia.

Upon arrival, the refugees get health screenings and assistance with work authorizations.

Afghan people granted special immigrant status by the Department of Homeland Security will be given resettlement benefits, while others will get initial relocation assistance from nongovernmental resettlement agencies.

Few specifics are known about the nature of the relocations or housing status — the State Department spokesperson cited privacy and security concerns. But the spokesperson acknowledged support from the community.

“The outpouring of care from Americans seeking to help, especially from the Afghan American community, is incredible,” the spokesperson said.

Pennsylvania is also expected to welcome refugees as President Joe Biden sticks to the Aug. 31 withdrawal deadline in Afghanistan.

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